The million-dollar question Lions fans want to know when it comes to new cornerback Drayton Florence is how much gas he has left in the tank at age 31 and entering his 10th season?
“That’s up for everybody to see,” Florence answered Monday following his first practice since the Lions acquired him in free agency Sunday.
“The older you get the better you should be getting and that’s where I feel I’m at. My body feels good.
“I met with the coaches and we went over the scheme a little bit and I’m just excited to be here and ready to get to work and look forward to winning a lot of games this year.”
According to Florence, his release from the Broncos during final cuts Friday didn’t have as much to do with his skills as it did the Broncos wanting to take a new direction. Florence was beaten out by Chris Harris, Omar Bolden and Tony Carter for playing time in Denver.
“They wanted to go younger, so they released me,” he said.
Whatever the reason for the Broncos deciding to part ways with Florence, he says he’s moved on from it and has now shifted all his focus and attention on helping a Lions secondary that can use both his experience and the added depth.
Florence brings immediate experience to a cornerback group that, behind veteran
“That’s one of the reasons we like him, because of his experience,” head coach Jim Schwartz said of Florence after practice Monday.
“He’s a veteran player; he’s played inside; he’s played outside. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s got some multidimensional skills we like. He didn’t make it at Denver, but he had a good career before that, and we look forward to having him contribute for us.”
Don’t be surprised if that’s as early as Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Rams at Ford Field, either.
Florence said he had multiple visits lined up with teams this weekend but signed with the Lions – the first team he visited –because it was “the best fit” and a chance to immediately contribute.
“The depth situation, obviously, needing a corner to come in and play,” he said. “Just coming in and helping the team any way I can, whether it’s base defense, nickel defense or special teams.”
Starting left cornerback Chris Houston is still nursing an ankle injury and did not practice in the portion of practice open to the media. Rookie right cornerback Bill Bentley returned to the practice field for the first time Monday after suffering a shoulder injury more than a week ago in Oakland.
“The main thing about this game, it’s about being a professional and being prepared,” Florence said. “As long as you prepare you can go out and play confident. Football is football. It won’t take long (to get up to speed).”